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Ballet Talk for Dancers
Kerrida

Finally Took the Plunge

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Kerrida

Thanks to a dear friend nudging and pushing me I finally managed to swallow my anxiety and fear, and yesterday stepped into my first dance class ever. It's something I've wanted to do since I was a child, but with strict parents who saw dancing as being improper followed by general life and anxiety issues as an adult I never could get past the wanting to do it phase. I am exceedingly grateful to my friend who kept poking and prodding me until I finally dipped my toe in by going to a drop-in Intro Ballet class in the AOD at the school that is attached to our local Company.

I've been involved in many different physical activities over the years, and they all had a similar feel in what was needed from the body in order to participate. I swiftly discovered that this was a whole new world, and it was full on deer in headlights moments. I managed to make it through the entire 1.5hr class, and despite how overwhelming everything was I still managed to give everything a solid attempt. It certainly was not easy trying to absorb all the new information that came flying at me, but I did catch on for the most part. The teacher for the class (Is there a proper name I should use?) was very kind and her bubbly personality helped squash the the anxiety and stuff so I didn't try to run out the door. After class she did come over to welcome me and thank me for coming

The part that amuses me the most crept up after class. I spent most of yesterday rather pleased that apparently other activities had left my legs stronger than I had though since I didn't feel any fatigue or weariness from them after class. No, it just waited until later in the evening to sneak up to say hello. It is still not as bad as I've had in the past, but they definitely want me to know that they got a good workout.

I am sure it comes as no surprise, but I'm hooked now and am eager to go back. This really was one of the best and most rewarding things I could have possibly done. May have taken a long time, but I finally did it!

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RaisingBallerina

Congratulations Kerrida!  It is a courageous step.  I took my first dance classes my senior year in college and I definitely remember the learning curve, and being in classes with people who had danced all their lives was intimidating.  Now in my fifties, I still take 1-3 dance classes a week and am so grateful that I put that work as a young adult so I can have dance in my life now!  

When I see adult women taking their first dance class, my wish for them is to know that any judgment will only come from themselves.  Be kind to yourself, be proud of yourself, and know that the people in that room are possibly the only people in your life that truly understand how hard it is to do what you're doing!  It never gets easier, but it does get more and more gratifying.  

Dance requires your full mental concentration on myriad things at once, like playing an instrument in an orchestra.  Because of this there exists a wonderful benefit I call "dancer's amnesia".  This is the phenomenon where at the end of a really great class you realize for a moment you don't know what day it is, what's on your to-do list, problems that have been nagging at you, etc.  Your brain has taken a total "timeout" from that - almost like 90 minutes of active meditation.  It all comes rushing back of course, but you gave your brain a 90 minute vacation from it's daily overload.  

So many benefits begin with taking that first step!  Bravo to you!

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Redbookish

Congratulations, Kerrida, and welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers. It's great that you found us. You're now on a lovely journey into learning one of the most beautiful arts. And I hope that also it's helped with anxiety - I think the wonderful thing about a ballet class is that you just can't think of anything else for that 90 minutes - it clears your head, and there's beautiful music. Bonus!

14 hours ago, Kerrida said:

No, it just waited until later in the evening to sneak up to say hello. It is still not as bad as I've had in the past, but they definitely want me to know that they got a good workout.

This is a well-known phenomenon that I think they call DOMS (delayed onset Muscle soreness) in the gym world. It's the way the lactic acid build up from new exercise makes itself felt. I usually find it's not the next day, but the day after that - the second day after unaccustomed exercise. But your body will adapt, and you won't feel it after a while (that's why athletes cross-train to get to the highest level of fitness possible). 

It sounds like you've found a lovely studio, and a lovely teacher. And just remember that no-one is looking at you - they're all too worried about their own stuff.

Have a lovely time in class.

 

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Kerrida

Thank you both for the warm welcome. I absolutely understand what you both mean about not being able to think about anything else during that time. There's just way too much going on that needs to be absorbed for there to be time to think about much else. Granted, the pauses did allow that nagging voice of anxiety to poke at things. Nothing I'm not used to over the years, and I had already gotten over the hard part of actually making myself go in the first place. I absolutely agree that it was a wonderful escape from the busy day to day stuff.

I'm quite familiar with having sore muscles after starting some new activity, most of which were very rough on the legs. It's just that usually after they've been made to work hard they feel like leaden jelly, and the next morning the muscles make their displeasure known.  This was a different one for me, and amused me. Right now I'm still trying to get the calves to relax as they've been griping when I go to stand up. It's nothing terrible, but hopefully it'll finally relax before the next class.

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